By Dr. Abner Mality

A strange transmission emanates from the spinning center of a cosmic black hole. On the other side of the hole are cities made of fungus inhabited by crystalline beings resembling insects. They are in eternal conflict with spirits made of flaming shadow. There are a thousand suns in the sky but the temperature is far below zero. The transmissions we hear are the story of that dimension and they are brought to us by way of Finland and a collective known as Oranssi Pazuzu.

Those freaking Finns! Is there anywhere in the world more in love with the strange and the outre? A listen to just about any artist on Ektro Records confirms with whacked sensibility of Finnish musicians. So it was hardly a surprise when I learned that Oranssi Pazuzu hail from this gloomy sub-arctic land.

This is truly Lovecraftian music. Not much in heavy music can be said to be truly original anymore, but the Pazuzu boys give that maxim a run for its money. This is incredibly hypnotic and otherworldly stuff. At times, it hardly seems to be the work of human beings. Perhaps these savants open their minds to entities from beyond and also themselves to be used to create the music of "Velonielu". And how to describe "Velonielu"? How did Lovecraft describe the blind idiot god Azathoth? How did Dave Bowman describe his odyssey through the universe in 2001? My words fail but I must bravely push forward...

First, let's put your fears at ease and confirm Oranssi Pazuzu is a heavy metal band. Distorted guitars play a very large part in what they do. But so,too, do the sounds of the cosmos, channelled by analog synths and unworldly guitar effects. The music is tribal, throbbing, simplistic in spots but never "typical". To throw out some names for comparison, think of Hawkwind colliding head on with Enslaved, with dollops of Darkthrone and early 70's sci-fi music added for good measure. This is music to trip to, and trip hard. "Vino Verso" is repetitive and tribal...the summoning of primitive gods, but gods from the other side of the black hole. "Tyhja Tempelli" is more recognizable black metal, with Darkthronish croaking vocals and wild abandon. "Uraanisula" begins quietly, psychedelically, almost pastoral, before mesmerizing metal madness erupts. "Space metal", indeed. On "Reika Maisemasaa", we enter a realm of synthetic sounds both retro and futuristic...acid drenched effects suggest a race of alien insects at work. "Olen Aukaissut Uuden Silman" is upbeat, heavy, woozy, vocals riding on top of shiny steel. And then we have the final transmission, "Ympyra On Viiva Tomussa", 17 minutes which ranges from barely perceptible signals to howling metallic overkill. And not dull for a single second.

If acid is getting too expensive for you, try a dose of Oranssi Pazuzu and "Velonielu". This is one of the most breath-takingly different albums you are likely to hear and a standout in this year of our Lord 2013.